It’s a Trap! Warning Signs to Look Out For When Job Hunting
We are living in a digital age where the most common way to find a job is online. Unfortunately, with the rise of online job postings, also comes the rise of online job scams. Scammers are regularly targeting job seekers, as it is one of the easiest ways to get personal information. These scams can be costly and devastating to people looking for work. The good news is that you can spot a job scam before you become a victim, if you know what to look for.
9 Telltale Signs that a Job Posting Is a Scam
“No Experience Necessary”: All jobs, even entry-level ones, will require some experience. Chances are, if you come across a posting that claims you don't need any experience to get started, it is a scam.
No Job Description or Vague Job Description: Another sign that the job posting is a scam is if it doesn’t clearly list, in detail, what you'll be required to do in order to maintain the position. A job description shouldn't be hard to understand, nor should it be too difficult to write in a job posting.
Suspiciously High Pay: If you find a job offering wages that are significantly more than similar jobs in the same field and location, it is more than likely a scam. Research similar positions to learn more about the salary range you should expect to find.
Upfront Payment Required: If you apply for a job and you're asked to pay a fee up front, it's a scam. This is most common with work-from-home job scams, where scammers will ask job seekers to pay for the equipment they will be using for the job. A legitimate and reputable company will not require you to pay out-of-pocket fees for your equipment, background check, or any other processing. Please don't send the money or information they are requesting. Also, if they ask you to cash a check and forward a portion of those funds to a third party, this is a scam.
Immediate Hire, No Application or Interview: If you're offered a position that you never applied or interviewed for, beware. Legitimate employers and recruiters sometimes reach out to potential candidates first, but even then, it's not to offer the job outright; the candidate still needs to go through an application and interview process. If someone claiming to be a recruiter or employer offers you a job out of the blue, it's important to research before accepting. Similarly, if you apply for a job and are immediately offered the position before having an interview, be careful.
Requires Personal Information: A legitimate employer would not ask for any personal information until you're offered the job, and it's time for them to conduct a background check. If you're asked early on in your interview process to provide your personal information like bank account number, social security number, driver's license information, or anything similar, you are probably being scammed.
Poorly Written Post and Correspondence: If a job posting or emails from an employer/recruiter contain poor grammar & spelling, or just sound "off" with awkward or overly-formal wording, this is a red flag. This communication should be easy to read and understand, and legitimate postings are usually proofread before being publicly posted.
No Website or Poorly Designed Website: A quick Google search can let you know whether a company or open position is real or not. Legitimate companies will have information about the business and job opportunities on their professionally-designed website, in addition to job board websites like LinkedIn and Indeed. If a recruiter contacts you but you cannot find them on any job board or company websites, be warned, they might be a scammer.
Suspicious Contact Information: If an employer or recruiter reaches out to you through a generic or personal e-mail address such as "email@example.com" instead of "firstname.lastname@example.org," or the job posting you come across doesn't have company or contact information listed, it's best to move on.
Do Your Research
The more you perform your due diligence while job hunting, the easier it will become to spot a scam. If you see a posting or receive a call or message for a job that interests you, look for the following information online to help you determine whether it's the real deal (and also whether the company is a good fit for you):
- Company website
- Social media presence
- Employee/former employee reviews on websites like Glassdoor
- Consumer reviews on Google
- Professional profiles of any recruiters you've communicated with
Reporting a Scam
You've spotted a job scam -- now what? To help reduce the number of scam postings out there, follow these steps:
- Report the scam to the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center.
- Report the scam to the Federal Trade Commission.
- Report the company to the Better Business Bureau.
- Report the post to the job board platform to be flagged and removed.
Finding a job online can be difficult, but the more you know about what to look for, the easier it gets. Do your research and pay attention to the warning signs. Take your time, and don’t be pressured into providing your personal information, and you'll be able to avoid becoming a victim of a job scam.